Denis Johnson will become the first visiting professor in Boise State’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program in spring 2015.
Johnson is the winner of a National Book Award in fiction, an acclaimed, poet, essayist and playwright, and his classic short story collection, "Jesus’ Son," is considered a modern masterpiece.
Johnson will be teaching the MFA fiction workshop in the spring of 2015. It's the core course in the MFA program. Johnson will critique student manuscripts and lead the discussion on each story, as well as lecture on the elements of fiction. He also will hold conferences with graduate students and serve on MFA thesis committees.
During his semester at the university, Johnson will give a public reading of his work as part of the MFA Reading Series.
Johnson has taught at the Iowa Writers Workshop, considered the top program in the country. He most recently taught in the James Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, another top-ranked MFA program.
In response to a 1984 New York Times Book Review question about the influences on his writing, Johnson said, “My ear for the diction and rhythms of poetry was trained by — in chronological order — Dr. Seuss, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, the guitar solos of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, and T.S. Eliot. Other influences come and go, but those I admire the most and those I admired the earliest (I still admire them) have something to say in every line I write.”
Mitch Wieland, director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program and editor of The Idaho Review, said: “Needless to say, we are thrilled beyond belief to have Denis here.”